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Lo Shopping: Useful vocabulary for shopping in Italy

 

One English word has been largely adopted all over Italy: Shopping.

Non si deve fare shopping sulla spiaggia a fine stagione.

One shouldn't shop on the beach at the end of the season.

Caption 31, Francesca - sulla spiaggia - Part 2

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Italians pronounce it with their kind of O and they give the double P some importance, but it’s recognizable.


They also use the article lo (the) since the S is phonetically “impure” (esse impuro) meaning that it’s followed by another consonant, in this case, H. For more on articles, see Daniela’s lessons.


But let’s be clear. Lo shopping is not grocery shopping. To do the grocery shopping is fare la spesa (literally, to do the spending).


Whatever you do — lo shopping to buy some new shoes, or fare la spesa to buy groceries for a dinner you are planning, it’s handy to have some words to communicate with the shopkeepers.


More and more Italians are able to communicate with tourist-shoppers in English. But to be on the safe side, let’s look at some essential vocabulary.

Prices are often indicated, but if not, you need to ask:

Quanto costa il giubbino? -Trentacinque.

How much does the jacket cost? -Thirty-five.

Caption 19, Serena - in un negozio di abbigliamento - Part 2

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You won’t get arrested if you leave a store without a receipt, but it’s advisable to have it. In some places, the salesperson might try to get out of giving you a receipt, but it is your right to obtain it. Since tourists don’t necessarily know that, it’s easy to overlook it. If you need to return an item or exchange it, you will need the receipt. Sometimes you have to ask for it.

 

Mi dà lo scontrino per favore (can you give me a receipt, please)?

 

When it's offered, it's a good sign.

Grazie. -Aspetta che ti devo fare lo scontrino.

Thanks. -Wait, because I have to give you your receipt.

Caption 36, Serena - un pacchetto regalo

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Most shops accept electronic payment, but at the outdoor markets, cash is more common.

Pago icontanti.

I'll pay in cash.

Caption 40, Marika spiega - L'euro in Italia, con Anna

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If you do pay in cash, you might not have any change, especially if you got some nice crisp banconote (bills) from the Bancomat (ATM machine).

Mi dispiacenon ho spiccioli.

I'm sorry, I don't have any change.

Caption 21, Marika spiega - L'euro in Italia, con Anna

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So spiccioli  (with the accent on the first syllable) means "small change," but when we're talking about someone giving you change, it's a different story. Il resto does mean "the rest" but here, it means "[the rest of] what I owe you."

Ah, vabbé, non si preoccupi, ora Le do il resto. Prego.

Oh, OK, don't worry about it, now I'll give you your change. Here you are.

Caption 22, Marika spiega - L'euro in Italia, con Anna

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Italians use the English word “cash” to mean “cash,” but sometimes they say "the cash" to mean la cassa, which is the cashier or check-out counter.

Dove si paga (where does one pay)?
Alla cassa (at the cash register/check-out counter).

 

Have you had any negative experiences in buying things on vacation in Italy? Do you have questions about shopping vocabulary or customs?

Write to us at newsletter@yabla.com.

 

Vocabulary

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